Monday, March 05, 2007

Hindemith's Trauermusik

I have a liking for music that sounds dark. Life has its ups and downs, and dark music, in my opinion, provides an outlet to express the darker side of the human emotions: the agony, the misery, the sorrow, the pain, the torment and so forth.

When contrast against such dark moments, one can actually learn to appreciate the beauty that can be found almost everywhere, even in dark music. Maybe life isn't about being plain smooth sailing, but is about rising above the odds? It is not about being painless, but about being alive by experiencing the full magnitude of life's ups and downs?

Enough about my rambling, I shall take this chance to offer my readers some information regarding Paul Hindemith's Trauermusik for Viola and Orchestra (written in 1936). It will be performed live for the first time in Singapore on 16 Mar 2007, 7.30 p.m. in a classical music concert by NUS Symphony Orchestra. More details on the concert can be found here:

If the English subtitles on my double bass scores are right, Trauermusik should mean Funeral Music.

There is a recording of Hindemith's Trauermusik by Cpo Records. Up on one of the pages of, one can listen to samples of this work for the viola and orchestra. I personally think that the sound of the viola can be more moving than that of the violin.

Opening this work is a passage marked Langsam (Lento) which means "slow". Later, the performance directions indicate Ruhig bewegt which means "calm with movement" or "quietly moves". The third section is marked Lebhaft (Vivo) which basically means "lively (quick and lively)". The performance directions on the last section of the work indicate Sehr langsam which informs the performers to play that section very slowly. With that, the work eventually ends with silence.

I read a bit about Hindemith's philosophy of music on and I like this part of his philosophy: "To express what has never been said before, the musician must enter another dimension. He must explore the heights and the depths, the heights of the spiritual and the depths of the human soul."

I think the challenge would also be on the listeners to listen out for the heights of the spiritual and the depths of the human soul. If you would like to make the attempt to take up the challenge, do check out the concert on 16 Mar 2007 to hear Hindemith's Trauermusik live in Singapore!

Sturm und Drum
Date: 16 Mar 2007 (Fri)
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Venue: University Cultural Centre Hall, NUS
Ticket Price: $11 each (including $1 Sistic Booking Fee)

And here is some information about the (viola) soloist who will be playing in the above-mentioned concert:

Born in Russia, Anatoly Zelinksy studied at the Moscow Conservatory and the Kiev Academy of Music. He was Principal Violist of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and was conferred The Honored Artist of Ukraine in 1985. He was also the Principal Violist/Soloist of the Kristiansand Symphony, Norway and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. He has premiered many viola works and involved in many CD recordings. He is currently Principal Violist with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.


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Simple American said...

Dark stuff huh?

You know I really want to get ahold of the complete Wagner's Der Ring. Se expensive though. But very powerful and Germanic. Of course it is an opera too.

goldilocks said...

i agree that it's about raising against the odds.